…Says Senate must remain steadfast in stabilizing polity ahead of 2023
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said that the National Assembly will on Thursday transmit the 2022 budget passed by both chambers to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent into law.
Lawan gave the hint on Wednesday in his remarks moments before the chamber proceeded on recess.
According to him, the timely assent of the 2022 Appropriations bill into law would ensure the commencement of its implementation by January next year.
He added that businesses operating in the country as well as the economy stand to be impacted positively by the timely passage of the nation’s budget by the National Assembly.
He said, “For the 2022 Appropriation bill, we are expecting that the bill will be cleaned up between today and tomorrow, and we hope that by tomorrow, the bill will be sent to Mr. President for his assent.
“[And] we are very optimistic that Mr. President will assent to the bill, like he did for 2020 and 2021, so that by January 2022, the implementation of the budget 2022 will commence by the grace of God.
“We have seen the benefits of passing and assenting to the budget in good time, especially when we had to fight COVID-19.
“The consequence of the implementation of the budget in 2021 and 2020 was very clear. For us to come out of the recession that we found ourselves in the previous period, we must have had the fortune of passing the budget and getting Mr. President to sign in time.
“So, we believe that the economy of Nigeria, and Nigerian businesses especially, will continue to benefit from the passage of the appropriation bills in time and the assent by Mr. President, accordingly.
“We wish to make it clear that our desire is to provide legislations for the peace, order and good government of our country.”
The Senate President further hinted that the chamber would consider the report of the Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution as soon as it is presented early next year.
“When we return, we have one major legislation that has not been attended to at all as a chamber, and that is the constitutional amendments.
“Our Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution has been doing its work. But as a chamber, we haven’t finished working on it.
“We are expectant that our Committee on the review of the constitution will be presenting the report to this chamber as soon as we resume. The committee has done so much, and the report is almost ready.
“When we harmonize with our colleagues in the House, we should be able to vote on the issues that will particularly bring about peace, unity and good government in our country, before such bill will be sent to the State Houses of Assembly for concurrence.
“On the whole, we must thank Almighty God that almost all those major items we reflected in our legislative agenda as a chamber has been attended to.
“There’s nothing that has been left out, including the review or amendment to our standing orders on how our committees have better and more clearly defined jurisdictions and, of course, how we conduct ourselves here as a chamber.
“And this is because we’ve remained united even in the face of sometimes very difficult issues. We have gone through such difficult moments with dignity and respect for each other, and we have come out even stronger.”
The Senate President reminded his colleagues of the role of the Senate as an institution to stabilize the polity, particularly against the backdrop of issues likely to surface ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“Next year, by the grace of God, will be the last lap of our tenure. So, we have a lot to ensure that we finish all the things that we have penciled down for ourselves and, of course, there are many other issues that from time to time will be coming up in our polity.
“This Senate is supposed to play that role of stabilizing the polity in Nigeria.
“[And] I daresay, that the members of the National Assembly, particularly the Senate, is a stabilizing institution in the polity of Nigeria.”
He underscored the need for the National Assembly to work with the executive arm of government to provide the needed resources, as well as oversight the use of such funds in the fight against insecurity.
“The killings across the country are so bad, and it is not acceptable to us, but we have to work hard because we are part of government and we are also accountable to the people, for not only protecting their lives and property, but to ensure that they have a life that is worth living”, Lawan said.
Senate To Probe CBN’s Anchor Borrowers, Ways And Means
The Senate on Tuesday, resolved to further investigate N10trn Anchor Borrowers’ Programme by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as well as accountability in the Ways and Means loans by the Apex Bank.
The Red Chamber said the move was to plug loopholes in future development finance activities of the CBN.
The Senate resolved to set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the details of the Ways and Means, including the various intervention programmes such as the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, monies given to state governments, manufacturers, aviation, banks, excess funding in the power sector, amongst others which raised the current debt profile of the country.
This was part of resolutions of the Senate after a debate over the report of the National Assembly Joint Committees on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions (BIOFI), Finance, National Planning, Agriculture and Appropriation on the state of the economy.
On the compliance and transparency of economic actions, the Senate equally resolved that the CBN ensured compliance with the provisions of the Act in respect of Ways and Means and accountability through timely submission of its budget, financial statements and report of its activities to the President and National Assembly as stipulated in the Act.
In an extensive debate, Senator Adamu Aliero argued that some state governors, including some retired ones in the Senate, were beneficiaries of N18bn as shock absorbers under the Ways and Means since 2015.
Some lawmakers suggested that a special committee be set up to scrutinize the N30trn intervention disbursements (some of which were grants) and ways to mop them up.
Deputy Senate President Barau Jibrin also explained that the intervention monies were expended outside appropriation without the knowledge of the parliament and noted that lawmakers have a right to interrogate the expenditure.
Senator Victor Umeh, however, deferred, as he enquired to know how the money was spent before approval by the Senate. The issue of whether or not to investigate the matter raised another furore in the Red Chamber.
Senate President Godswill Akpabio thereafter maintained that owing to the current economic situation, it has become expedient to thoroughly examine the Ways and Means funds.
Oil marketers get approval to sell Dangote fuel
The seven major oil marketers in Nigeria have registered with the Dangote Petroleum Refinery for the lifting and distribution of refined petroleum products produced by the $20bn plant.
Dealers under the aegis of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria confirmed on Sunday that with the registration, they would commence the distribution of fuel produced from the facility once the commercial terms are sorted.
This came as the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria also revealed that they would meet with the management of the Dangote refinery this week to discuss terms of product loading.
Similarly, the Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria stated that PETROAN had been engaging the management of the multi-billion dollar refinery for the supply of products from the facility.
As IPMAN and PETROAN engage the refinery, major marketers who are members of MOMAN have already registered with the plant and are set to start buying products.
The seven major marketers include 11 Plc, Conoil Plc, Ardova Plc, MRS Oil Nigeria Plc, OVH Energy Marketing Limited, Total Nigeria Plc and NNPC Retail.
Last Friday, the Dangote Petroleum Refinery announced the commencement of production of Automotive Gas Oil, also known as diesel, and JetA1 or aviation fuel.
The President of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, had in a statement issued by the firm, thanked President Bola Tinubu for his support, encouragement, and thoughtful advice towards the actualisation of the project.
He also thanked the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, and Nigerians for their support and belief in the historic project.
“We have started the production of diesel and aviation fuel, and the products will be in the market within this month once we receive regulatory approvals. This is a big day for Nigeria. We are delighted to have reached this significant milestone.
“This is an important achievement for our country as it demonstrates our ability to develop and deliver large capital projects. This is a game changer for our country, and I am very fulfilled with the actualisation of this project,” Dangote stated.
The refinery, located in Lagos, has so far received six million barrels of crude oil at its two SPMs located 25km from the shore. The first crude delivery was done on December 12, 2023, and the 6th cargo was delivered on January 8, 2024.
The refinery can load 2,900 trucks a day at its truck-loading gantries. The products from the refinery will conform to Euro V specifications, according to the firm.
“The refinery design complies with the World Bank, US EPA, European emission norms, and Department of Petroleum Resources emission/effluent norms, employing state-of-the-art technology,” the company stated.
The Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Petrochemical Project, a subsidiary of Dangote Industries Limited, is a 650,000 barrels per day crude oil refinery, located in Dangote Industries Free Zone, Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria.
The Dangote Petroleum Refinery is an industrial plant that transforms crude oil into various usable petroleum products such as diesel, gasoline, jet fuel, and kerosene.
Dangote Petroleum Refinery with a capacity to refine 650,000 barrels of crude oil per day covers an area of approximately 2,635 hectares in the Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos.
When contacted and asked whether major oil marketers would be involved in the lifting of refined products from the Dangote refinery, or whether the facility would distribute the fuel itself, the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, MOMAN, Clement Isong, replied, “I confirm that we (major marketers) have met with him (Dangote).
According to Isong, all MOMAN members have registered with Dangote Petroleum Refinery to become marketers of its products
Senate Gives Kyari, NUPRC Boss 24 Hours To Appear For Budget Defense
The Chairman of the Senate Appropriation Committee, Senator Adeola Olamilekan, on Wednesday, directed the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mele Kyari, to appear before the committee in 24 hours.
Olamilekan, who asked Kyari to appear in company of the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), warned that failure to appear undermines the legislature and sabotages the process.
They are required to present the list of all individual companies operating with OML licenses in Nigeria as well as total production output approved on a daily basis.
The lawmaker expressed concerns that some of the revenues required to drive the 2024 budget was attributed to the NNPCL, which according to him, was owned by the Federal Government and responsible to it, and by extension the three arms of government.
The NNPCL, had earlier shunned for a second time, summons by the Senate to appear before its committee probing over N11trn expenditure on turn around maintenance of refineries in the country between 2010 and 2023.
The absence of Kyari, whose entity is at the centre of the investigation, stalled efforts by the Senate panel to make progress on the matter.
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